Kirsten gives it Horn

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Proteas_Alps

Gallo Images/CSA/Richard Davies

The Proteas and management during their visit to Glacier 3000 in Gstaad, Switzerland.

Team-building camps and huddles – I can’t stand them. Why gather the team together in a little circle and lock arms when you’re out on the field? It feels contrived, like you’re showing off for the gallery and television cameras.

As for team-building, well they tried that crap here with The Star’s sports department and it descended into a beer drinking, pool playing jol – erm, come to think of it, I quite enjoyed those two days.

The South African cricket team is in Château-d’Oex, in the south-western region of Switzerland. From pictures seen on the web, it looks very pretty and it’s home to adventurer/explorer Mike Horn.

It is he who will be running the team-building camp. While I may not agree with the whole team-building concept, South Africa’s coach Gary Kirsten sees merit in it, and his reasoning seems sufficiently sound.

The national team hasn’t been together as a unit since March when they returned from New Zealand. Kirsten has only been in the job for a year and had to hastily prepare sides after home series’ with Australia and Sri Lanka before the trip to New Zealand.

The three days in Switzerland – hanging off glaciers, cycling through the forest and chatting with a chap who was nearly shot in the Congo – will, Kirsten explained, provide the basis for the tough year of cricket lying ahead.

All well and good – as long as there are no injuries of course.

In the modern professional sports world there’s a lot of talk of remaining “in the bubble” – to such an extent that players forget the world around them. Kirsten says he and team management want to think “outside of the box”, to maintain mental freshness.

Of course, for many people all this team-building stuff is just pie in the sky – what ultimately matters is results and one can imagine the cynics sharpening their knives should SA get blasted off the field in England.

Kirsten can’t help that though – certainly not now. In the past few weeks he has asserted that the side will be ready come July 19 and the first day of the Test at The Oval. Running around the hills of Switzerland is seen as part of that preparation.

Whatever the rest of us think, Kirsten, given the success he achieved with India – where Horn’s motivational skills were also utilised – deserves some wiggle room to apply his methods.

Team-building and huddles may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if we win in England we’ll all be signing up for a run-around at a camp somewhere. – The Star


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